(By the way, just thought I should say up front that if you don't find much interest in reading line after line after line of poems or hymns, then you might want to skip out on my blog this week. I can't imagine anyone being that way, but just in case, you've been warned nonetheless.)
I don't know much about being blind, and I don't think reading and watching Mary in the "Little House on the Prairie Series" counts. But I do know that a blind person learns to use their other senses in order to "see", particularly that of hearing and feeling. In order to get to know a new person or place, they have to get up close and personal, feeling their new terrain or friend.
Because that is a foreign concept to personal, private me, I never considered how that might relate to one's relationship with God. But the more I read Fanny Crosby's hymns, the more I see how she saw--she couldn't see her Savior (and for once we're in the same boat as her), so she felt her way to Him. All I have to do is list the titles of a few of her hymns and you'll get the picture:
She obviously spent much of her time by Jesus' side, and looked for the day when she would actually be by His side in heaven. This is what I would call the "drawing closer to God" theme. Here are some examples of that:
Blessed Redeemer, gracious and tender, New and forever dwell Thou in me;
Thou, my Protector, Shield and Defender, Draw me and keep me closer to Thee.
I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice, And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith And be closer drawn to Thee.
(Refrain) Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord, To the cross where Thou hast died.
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord, To Thy precious, bleeding side.
("I Am Thine/Draw Me Nearer")
Savior, more than life to me, I am clinging, clinging, close to Thee;
Let Thy precious blood applied, Keep me ever, ever near Thy side.
(Refrain) Every day, every hour, Let me feel Thy cleansing power;
May Thy tender love to me Bind me closer, closer, Lord to Thee.
("Savior More Than Life To Me")
But she wasn't just looking for the day when she would be by His side, but when she would actually see Him face to face. As I mentioned yesterday, living in a dark world I'm sure only made her first glimpse of that heavenly sunshine all the brighter and more glorious, and the wait more exciting. This is what I called the "looking forward to heaven" theme.
Glorious vision! heav’nly ray! All my gloom has passed away;
Now my joyful eye doth see, And my soul still clings to Thee,
Thine the glory evermore, Mine to worship and adore.
They tell me of a land so fair, Unseen by mortal eyes,
Where spring in fadeless beauty blooms, Beneath unclouded skies.
(Refrain) “Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard,
Neither hath it entered into the heart of man,
The things which God hath prepared for them,
Prepared for them that love Him.”
("Eye Hath Not Seen")
A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord, A wonderful Savior to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock, Where rivers of pleasure I see.
("He Hideth My Soul")
Oh, the soul thrilling rapture when I view His blessed face,
And the luster of His kindly beaming eye;
How my full heart will praise Him for the mercy, love and grace,
That prepare for me a mansion in the sky.
("No Tears In Heaven")
When my life work is ended, and I cross the swelling tide,
When the bright and glorious morning I shall see;
I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,
And His smile will be the first to welcome me.
(Refrain) I shall know Him, I shall know Him, And redeemed by His side I shall stand,
I shall know Him, I shall know Him, By the print of the nails in His hand.
("My Savior First of All")
And I shall see Him face to face,
And tell the story—Saved by grace.
So the last theme I mentioned is almost obligatory at this point. If someone has drawn close to God and awaits the day to see Him, then naturally praise should flow from their heart for being granted both desires! And this is exactly what we see flow from Fanny's pen. (Even if you haven't clicked on the other links, be sure and check out this catchy tune!)
We’re saved by the blood That was drawn from the side
Of Jesus our Lord, When He languished and died.
(Refrain) Hallelujah to God, For redemption so free;
Hallelujah, hallelujah, Dear Savior, to Thee.
O yes, ’tis the blood Of the Lamb that was slain;
He conquered the grave, And He liveth again.
We’re saved by the blood; We are sealed by its power;
’Tis life to the soul, And is hope every hour.
That blood is a fount Where the vilest may go
And wash till their souls Shall be whiter than snow.
We’re saved by the blood, Hallelujah again;
We’re saved by the blood, Hallelujah, Amen.